Browsing Category

Devotions

3 Practical Ways to Deal With Stress

3 Practical Ways Youth Devotion Teen Devotion on Stress

Stress isn’t just something that adults deal with. As a teenager, you face lots of stressful situations every day. You might be stressed out because of something going on at school or home. Perhaps you’re in a stressful relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend. No matter what the source of your stress is, this devotion is focused on helping you overcome stress in healthy ways.

1 – Don’t Deal With Stress Alone

The best thing to do about stress is realize one simple truth: You weren’t built to deal with stress alone. You aren’t expected to deal with hard situations on your own. God wants to help you deal with the stressful situations that you face.

O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. – Jer. 10:23

This scripture describes it so perfectly. We aren’t built to do things on our own and in our own strength. We need God’s help to live our day-to-day lives. We need to trust that God has our back in every situation and circumstance that we face. When we get stressed out, we should go to God and ask for his help. He’s just waiting for us to ask for His help.

[Tweet “God wants to help you deal with the stressful situations you face – @studentdevos”]

2 – Look for the Cause of Your Stress

Look for the cause of your stress. Stress can come for a lot of reasons. For example, maybe you’ve committed yourself to too many things. You can’t realistically do soccer, volleyball, cheer, choir, band, yearbook and lead youth group Bible study. If you’re stressed out because you’ve overcommitted, then look for ways to get out of an activity or two. Even though being involved in a lot of things is fun, if it’s causing you too much stress, it isn’t worth it.

Perhaps you’re stressed out because of a bad relationship. If so, pray for wisdom to know how to deal with the person or situation.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. – James 1:5 (NLT)

Do some searching to see if you can find out what is causing you to be stressed. Then determine if there’s a way to handle the situation differently to help you be less stressed.

3 – Ask Advice From Other People

If you’re really stressed out about a situation or another person, it can be helpful to ask advice from someone else. Find a person who you feel you can trust and ask them their thoughts about your situation.

Many times, a wise friend, youth pastor or mentor can help put your situation into perspective. People that have gone through similar stressful situations can help give you advice and the encouragement you need to make it through stressful situations.

A fool thinks he needs no advice, but a wise man listens to others. – Proverbs 12:15 (TLB)

Remember that no matter what it is that is stressing you out, you can know that God wants to help you. It might be through the advice of a trusted friend, or through a God inspired idea. All you need to do is ask Him and he will be happy to help you out.

Pray: God, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I thank you that I don’t have to live my life in my own strength. I thank you that I can go to you when I get stressed out about things and you’re there to help me. I ask for your help today. Thanks. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you’re a youth leader and you liked this devotion about stress, feel free to download a PDF of discussion questions based on this devotion.

Two Often Overlooked Secrets to Success at School

Youth and Teen Devotion - Two Often Overlooked Secrets to Success at School

Have you ever envied those people at school that just always seem to get good grades? It’s easy to watch them and think about how unfair it is that they are always getting good grades. There are moments when you feel like no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to do as well as they do. It can be easy to feel like their success is because they’re just naturally smart. And while it’s true that some people have a knack for book learning, there are ways to do better in school even if reading and writing isn’t your thing.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways you can boost your grades and earn some brownie points with your teachers. The great thing about these is that they don’t require any extra IQ points at all!

  1. Show up.
    Yep, success at school is as simple as that. Show up to class. Everyday. Whether you feel like it or not.
    Simply showing up each day goes a long way towards success at school. And don’t only show up in person, but be there mentally as well. It’s easy to get sucked into passing notes around the classroom, or Snapchatting your friends, but if you want to do well in school you’ve got to pay attention. It’s amazing how many times a teacher will give you tips for a test that you miss if you’re not there or if you’re not paying attention. There’s power to just mentally participating in your class.
    Its amazing how much better you can do on tests, quizzes and assignments by simply mentally participating in class. It may be hard for you to focus on what makes up DNA or the quadratic equation. You might not find those topics that interesting, but force yourself to listen anyway. The more you listen and participate mentally, the better you’ll do in class. Its just that simple.
    Show up physically and show up mentally. If you’re there and focused you can guarantee you’ll start getting better grades!
  2. Communicate.
    This is huge. Communicate with your teachers. Let them know if you have a doctor’s appointment and will be missing class a few days ahead of time. Then get your missed classwork done quickly and turned in.
    It’s amazing how willing teachers will be to work with you, if you just communicate with them. Let them know if you’re not keeping up and ask them for tips, pointers and help. Ask if you can do extra work if you need to bring a grade up. Just keep the lines of communication open, and it can really help you out. When communicating, don’t wait until right before finals to get the help you need. Once you realize that you’re struggling, get the courage to go talk to your teacher. Ask them for any tips or help. Most teachers are eager to help you succeed.

Teen Mp3 download of success scriptures for teens

These two things will help you out a lot at school. If you show up to class each day and show your teachers that you’re trying your best they will be much more likely to help you out if you get behind or need extra help. If you haven’t been to class everyday or doing the work, you don’t really have much ground to stand on when asking your teacher for help. The best way to do well in school is to show up everyday and communicate!

Finally, don’t forget to ask for God’s help. He can give you wisdom if you need help in dealing with a difficult teacher or school situation. He’s got the answer for any situation you’re facing. Don’t be afraid to ask Him what you should do.

Related Youth Resources

Here’s a student resource that’s sure to knock your socks off! This mp3 is full of awesome scriptures to help you be a success at school. Get them into your heart and watch God help you become a success at school!

 Similar Teen Devotions

What Twinkies Teach Us About Faith

Youth Group Teen Devotion on FaithTwinkies are a fun treat. They taste good, they’re light and fluffy, and that have that delicious creamy vanilla frosting center. Simply put, Twinkies are amazing. Can you imagine your life before you had your first Twinkie? If you’re like most people, you wouldn’t want to imagine something like that. But think about your life before you knew all about the awesome frosting center and it’s sugary goodness?

If you didn’t know Twinkies existed, how would you have heard about Twinkies? Perhaps one day you were hanging out with a friend and they began to tell you about how good Twinkies were. They talked about the texture, the flavor, and of course the vanilla frosting. More than likely, after hearing your friend describe a Twinkie, you’d want to head to the nearest store and try one out for yourself.

How Does Our Faith Come?

The idea of your friend telling you about Twinkies is a little like how faith works. After hearing about how good Twinkies are from a friend, your desire to eat a Twinkie grows. That’s a lot like how our faith in God grows. As we begin to hear about God and His goodness, we want to know more about Him and our faith grows.

So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. – Romans 10:17 (NLT)

The more you hear about Twinkies, the more you want one. The same is true for our faith. The more time we spend in God’s word, talking about God’s word, and thinking about God’s word the more our faith grows.

[Tweet “The more time we spending thinking about God’s word, our faith grows – @studentdevos”]

Faith Is Taking God at His Word

What would make you believe that Twinkies were good? It would have to be a matter of trust. You’d have to trust that your friend was telling you the truth about how good Twinkies are. You might rely on the fact that your friend tells the truth or that they have good taste, but it really comes down to believing what your friend said about Twinkies was true.

That’s a lot like how faith works. Faith is just taking God at His word. Its trusting what God says above everything else. Just like you would trust your friend’s word that a Twinkie was a great snack, you have faith by trusting that what God says is true. Hebrews says it like this:

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” – Hebrews 11:1 (Message)

Faith takes God at His word. When the Bible says something, having faith is believing what the Bible says no matter what it might look like around you. So the next time you rip open a package of Twinkies, remember that they can teach you a lot about faith!

[Tweet “Faith is trusting what God says above everything else – @studentdevos”]

If you’re a youth leader and you liked this devotion, feel free to download a PDF of discussion questions based on this devotion.

Similar Devotions For Teens

 

 

What Driver’s ED Can Teach You About Giving

Teen Devotion Youth Devotion What Driver's Ed Can Teach You About Giving Teen Devotion

I remember the day in driver’s ed where we finally got to drive the student driver cars. This wasn’t another day of sitting and watching videos or doing handouts about the proper stopping distance behind a stop sign. No. This was for real. We were getting to drive. It was all I could do to stay in my seat in the school’s cafeteria until my name was called to go drive. I watch classmate after classmate get up and leave with their driver’s ed instructor. Finally, my name was called and I was so excited because I was finally getting to drive.

I opened the door of my driver’s ed car. I sat down and tried to remember all the things the books had said we were supposed to do before leaving in the car. I fastened my seat belt and reached for the keys to start the car. But before I did, my driver’s ed teacher stopped me. He reminded me, “Check your mirrors! You always want to do that before you pull out.” There it was, the thing I had forgotten, to check my mirrors.

Checking your mirrors before pulling out in a car can help illustrate a point that will help us when it comes to giving. Its important to always remember to check your mirrors and make any adjustments necessary so you can see while you’re driving. In the same way, its important that we check our motives when we give money to God.

So why do we give? For some it might be to get recognition – maybe they want to impress someone. Others may feel obligated to give.  There are lots of reasons why people give but it’s always good to take a look at what God says about giving in the Bible.

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully – 2 Cor 9:7 (NLT)

This verse tells us several things about giving. It first tells us that we shouldn’t give reluctantly. You shouldn’t be giving but wish you weren’t doing it. You shouldn’t be giving because you feel pressured to do so. Those methods of giving don’t bless God.

God says in His word that He loves it when you give cheerfully. So next time you pull out your wallet or purse when its time to give, check your motives when you give. Just like you’d check the mirrors in your car before pulling out, check up on your motives. Decide to give because you love God and know that he wants the best for you.

[Tweet “Choose to give because you love God and know He wants the best for you – @studentdevos”]

Choose today to start thinking about giving. Make giving a part of who you are, even as a student. Be saving money to give to your church or a missions project. Develop the habit of giving while you’re young, it will help you out in life.

Pray: God I thank you that I can give to you. I choose to have the right attitude when I give because you said in your word you love a cheerful giver. I thank you right now for the ability to give and choose to have the right motives when giving to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you’re a youth group leader feel free to download our discussion questions based on this lesson.

 

Similar Youth Devotions:

What Canoes Teach Us About Hope

Teen Devotion and Youth Group Lesson on Hope

When you’ve got a great talent or ability people will often ask you when you realized you were able to do your talent. I discovered my “talent”, or lack there of at the age of ten. I was at a summer camp with some friends and during a free time at the camp, a friend and I decided to take a canoe out on the lake. It was fun, we paddled and talked and had a great time. When we were about in the middle of the lake, we heard the camp’s bell. The bell was telling us that our free time was over and we needed to go to the next scheduled activity. 

My friend and I began trying to turn our canoe around. We realized in a few minutes that we weren’t able to turn the canoe around. We tried and tried and tried, but no matter how hard we tried we weren’t able to turn our canoe around. And in that moment, I realized how bad I was at steering a canoe.

In canoeing and in life there’s often times where we need to turn it around or we need to course correct. Sometimes we might see something coming up ahead and realize that we need to change our course. Or perhaps, we see a dream, goal or vision that God has for our lives but we don’t know how to get there.

How Do We Get There?

So how do we do it? How do we get from where we are now to where we want to be? How do we stay motivated and keep moving toward our goal even when our goal seems too far away and we begin to wonder if we can ever get there?

Hope is what keeps us focused and moving toward our God given dreams and goals. Hope is what motivates us when things get tough and we want to give up. In the Bible, the disciples faced a situation where they wanted to give up hope.

but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. – Luke 24:21 (NIV)

In this passage, the disciples were sharing their feelings and said they had hoped. They had given up on hope since Jesus had died. They were feeling really discouraged and didn’t know what to do next.

[Tweet “Hope is what will motivate you to keep going when things get tough – @studentdevos”]

How do you turn a bad situation around?

One of the most important things to do when you’re in a tough situation is to not give up on hope. Hope is very important to accomplishing your dreams and goals, so let’s look at a few reasons why.

Hope = Direction.

If you lose your hope, you lose all direction in life. If you were in a canoe and you dropped your paddle, you’d be in trouble. Without the paddle, you’d have nothing to steer you. Hope is the same for us in life. Without hope, we have nothing steering and driving us toward our goals and dreams in life. If we give up our hope, we give up our direction.

[Tweet “Don’t give up on hope. It gives us direction in life. – @studentdevos”]

Hope = Anchor.

When you’re boating an anchor is important. Without it, you could run aground or drift off course. An anchor helps keep you in place. In life, it’s no different. We need something secure and something to help hold us steady. A secure anchor for our lives is Jesus.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain – Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

Many times in life our emotions, feelings and circumstances can try to drift us off course. We have to realize that if we lose hope, we lose our anchor.

Guard Your Hope.

When you’re canoeing it can make sense to take a dry bag with you. A dry bag is a safe place to put keys, books, maybe even food that you don’t want to get wet. Once this bag is sealed, it keeps important items from getting wet. Our hope is important. It’s something that needs to be guarded and kept safe. If we’re going to accomplish the dreams that God has put in our lives, we need to be sure to guard our hope.

What you put your hope IN matters.

If you were to try to hope in a canoe and paddle on carpet, you wouldn’t get very far. It would be hard work and really tough. However, if you were to put that same canoe into water and begin to paddle, it would be a lot easier. Why? What you put your canoe in matters. In life, it’s no different. What you put your hope in matters. You can put your hope in your friends, or in money, or lots of other things. Just be sure that what you put your hope in is solid. That it’s something that can see you through. In life, putting your hope in Jesus is a good choice. Jesus will never leave you or let you down. What you put your hope in matters.
[Tweet “What you put your hope in matters. Choose to put your hope in Jesus – @studentdevos”]

Hope can be resurrected.

Your situation isn’t too far gone for God. Your hope can be resurrected.

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? – Luke 24:5

These women went back to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. They were looking back at what had been. The angel asked them why were you looking for the living among the dead. The angel was telling them that even though their hope (Jesus) was once dead, it had now been resurrected. They didn’t have to keep looking for it in the place of death. In the same way, our hope can be resurrected, if we put it in Jesus.

Hope is important as it is the motivation for you to reach your God given dreams. Always remember that your situation isn’t too hopeless for a resurrection. Your dream isn’t too far off for Jesus to help bring it to pass in your life. If you choose to keep hope alive, your situation is never too hopeless. If you trust in God and lean on Him as the source of your hope, you’ll never be disappointed and never be without true hope.

[Tweet “Your situation isn’t too hopeless for a resurrection – @studentdevos”]

If you’re a youth leader and would like discussion questions or a lesson outline and powerpoint, you can download them below.

6 Reasons To Make Financial Goals

Teen Devotion - Financial Goals, Habits, Spending MoneyFinancial goals can seem pretty boring when you’re young. Most likely, you’d rather work on that history paper than think about your future financial goals. Setting financial goals isn’t probably what you’ll be bragging to your friends you did Friday night, but they are important. Setting financial goals can launch you forward into success faster. Here are six awesome reasons to set financial goals.

Reason One – Debt Stinks

It’s really easy to get sucked into the trap of spending too much. Those new shoes might seem so appealing and getting the newest phone might be really tempting, but getting into debt over them isn’t fun. It’s easy to get sucked into buying lots of things. While there’s nothing wrong with having nice things, getting into debt to have those nice things won’t pay off in the end.

If you want to be financially stable, make the decision while your young to stay out of debt. Credit card debt is especially bad. Setting good financial goals is important, they will help you stay out of debt.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. – Proverbs 22:4 (NIV)

Reason Two – No regrets.

When you get to be old and you’re looking back over your life, what financial decisions will you remember most? The coat that you had to have? Or that backpack that everyone at school was talking about? Or will it be the time you gave money to help missionaries touch lives for Jesus?

If you want to live a life without regrets, one step toward that is to make sound financial decisions. If you set aside money for saving and giving, you’ll find that you’ll be able to do the things that you want to. Choose to set financial goals so that you can live your life with no financial regrets.

Reason Three – Embarrassment

There is always that embarrassment of always living off your parents. Its not cool to be 34 and still borrowing money from your mom to get McDonald’s on Friday night. However, if you spend every penny you make each month you could find yourself in that situation.

It’s embarrassing not having enough money to buy things or help others out. You can avoid this by setting up good financial habits while you’re young. Choose to spend your money wisely and set some financial goals and limits for your life.

Reason Four – You want to achieve more.

If you want to achieve more, have money to give to others, and have nice things, you’ve got to have a plan to get there. Unfortunately success in life isn’t automatic. It takes work to get to where you want to be in life. If you want to be well off, you’ve got to make plans and wise financial decisions to get there.

[Tweet “Financial success isn’t automatic. You have to work to be successful. – @studentdevos”]

Reason Five – You want to enjoy life

If you don’t want to be stressed out all the time, wondering where the money is going to come from to pay for your rent, then it would be good to set up some financial goals. Your goals don’t have to be complicated. Simply determine to save and spend less than you make. An easy way to do this is to take out some money in cash for fun. Once your fun money is spent, then you know you can’t spend any more until your next pay period. This might seem like it’s keeping you from having fun, but in reality the opposite is true.

If you want to really enjoy life, and not be stressed out about money, then choose to spend less than you make so you have money left over in case of an emergency. Goals like these will help you stay on track financially and leave you with some room to have some fun too.

Reason Six – You Want to take adventures

If you want to travel, give, and change the world, it’s going to take money. With some smart financial goals, you can set aside some money so you’re able to travel and do the things you really want to do.

Setting up financial goals isn’t easy. It takes some work and saying ‘no’ to what feels good right now. However, if you set goals and hold yourself accountable to those goals, you help yourself in the long run. Financial goals helps you achieve more and help others too.

What are some financial goals you have?

What Snapchat Filters Teach Us About God’s Word

Snapchat Filters - Youth Devotion, Youth Group Lesson on God's WordIf you’re like a lot of teens, you probably love Snapchat. It’s there when you wake up each morning. You probably wake up, swipe through your chats, and respond to friends almost immediately. Snapchat is a fun way to  have fun and engage with friends.

One of the interesting features of Snapchat is the filters. Snapchat filters can take the most boring selfie and make it engaging. Whether its face swap or the dog filter, Snapchat filters change the way an image is seen. That’s a lot like what God’s word can do in our lives if we are open to it. God’s word can be a filter for our lives, helping us, guiding us, and showing us truth. So let’s look at couple of ways God’s word can be a filter for our lives.

[Tweet “God’s word is a filter for our lives, helping us, guiding us, and showing us truth – @studentdevos”]

Filter One – Perspective.

Have you ever felt confused about a situation going on around you? I remember a time when my family was going through a really tough time. My mom was really depressed and hurt and there were times when I honestly wanted to give up on my relationship with God because things were just so hard.

I remember in one of those moments crying out to God. I didn’t know what to do and I questioned my faith in God a lot at that time. As I cried out to God, I felt a scripture come to my mind. I went and looked the scripture up in the Bible and the amazing thing about the scripture was that it was exactly the encouragement I needed in that moment. The scripture I read brought my situation into focus and helped me get some perspective on what I was going through.

Armed with that scripture I was able to stay encouraged and even encourage my mom and others that we would get through this difficult situation. God’s word will do the same for you if you’ll be open to it. God’s word will help bring your situation into perspective in tough times.

Filter Two – Truth

In today’s word, there are a lot of voices to listen to. You have friends that might be pulling you in one direction, parents that are pulling you in another, and maybe a teacher that’s pulling you in a third direction. With all these different pulls, it can be hard to know what direction is right.

[Tweet “God’s Word is truth, regardless of what is going on around you. – @studentdevos”]

That’s where God’s Word comes in. God’s word will be a filter for your life to show you truth. Regardless of what you hear or see going on around you, God’s Word shows you truth.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Filter Three – Hope

One of the best things about God’s word is the hope it brings. Reading God’s word brings hope to your life. I remember at times struggling with thoughts of discouragement and even suicide. God’s word was the hope I needed to stand in those moments when I thought I couldn’t go on.

When all seemed lost, I would open up God’s word and read what God said about me. I would read about His great love for me and it gave me the hope and the courage to go on. God’s word brought hope to my situation. God’s word will do the same in your life if you’ll let it.

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

Jesus is the hope for our soul. When all seems lost, when you think you can’t go on, holding on to your hope in Jesus will carry you through.

[Tweet “When all seems lost, Jesus is the hope that will carry you through – @studentdevos”]

Don’t let your day get too busy that you forget to spend some time in God’s word. The filters found in God’s word are powerful. They can bring you the encouragement you need to get through a tough time. God’s word is powerful and if you’ll be open to it, God’s word can help you out each day with the things you face. So be ready to hear from God through His word, He’s ready to show you what you need.

If you’re a youth group leader and you liked this devotion, check out the discussion questions for your youth group in our youth leader resource area.

3 Things That Love Is

Youth and Teenager Devotion - 3 Things Love IsValentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’ve been out recently, you’ve probably noticed that almost every store is littered with chocolates, balloons, stuffed teddy bears and flowers in anticipation for the holiday. If you’re single, Valentine’s Day can be a little rough. You can feel really left out of all the gift giving and love. However, if you’re in a relationship, it can be rough too. How do you get the ‘right’ present? How do you know if you got ‘enough’ stuff for them. Regardless of your feelings about Valentine’s Day, the holiday is a time that gets us thinking about love. So here are three things that love is.

Love is Complex

Love isn’t something that is easy to define. If you really think about, we all experience love in different ways. Some people experience love in an act of kindness. Others feel loved when they’re complimented, or when someone spends time with them. Others think love is all about doing nice things for another person or giving everyone they run into great big hugs.

Other people see love as an emotion, others a choice. Still others look at love and think it’s romance or your crush asking you to prom. With all of the different ways people experience and define love, we can see that love is really complex. In the midst of love’s complexity, we know that we all will experience love at some point in our lives.

Love is Impossible

God talks about love in the Bible. One of the places that God lays out what love looks like is in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Cor 13:4-7 (NIV)

We can read this verse and feel a little overwhelmed. Here is this big long list of stuff love is, and stuff that love isn’t. It can make you feel like a failure. Who’s really patient and kind when their brother has just stolen the TV remote from them for the 725th time? Who really doesn’t envy when your friend made the football team at school and you didn’t? Who doesn’t boast and make themselves seem better to others than they really are? Who really doesn’t seek their own? Who really doesn’t keep score when others treat them wrong?

If we’re honest, most of us fall short of what love is. We don’t look out for others and we aren’t always kind. The definition of love God shows us in this verse is pretty much impossible for us to live up to. No person can be all these things all the time, and until we realize that we’re not able to love the way that God describes, we’ll never really appreciate the fact that God helps us love.

[Tweet “Without God’s help, loving others is impossible – @studentdevos”]

In the Bible we see that God has put His love in our hearts. He gives us the love we need to love others. We just have to rely on the deposit of love that God has already placed in our hearts.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:5 (NLT)

If we’re feeling overwhelmed by how hard it is to love, then we need to focus in on the fact that God has given us the love we need to love others. He’s poured this love in abundance in our hearts. We just have to believe it and tap into that love that’s already there. Here’s a few Tips for Dealing With Mean People

Love is Healthy

If you’ve ever worked out you know that exercise isn’t fun. It’s really hard and it’s a lot of work. However, exercise is something that helps keep you healthy. Sometimes, you’ve got to do things that aren’t fun and don’t feel good to get the results you want in your life. We know this is true when it comes to exercise and eating right. However, part of the reason God tells us to love others is because it’s healthy for us.

God knows that if we harbor a grudge, it has the potential to make us bitter. He knows that if we aren’t kind, we can become ungrateful. He knows that if we envy others we can become discontented with life. God knows us well, He knows the things that are good for us. When He tells us to love, He’s not doing it to make our lives harder. Rather God tells us to love because He knows it helps keep us healthy in our hearts. If we love, we don’t become bitter, we don’t become discontented with what we have. When we love we keep ourselves from becoming ungrateful, hateful and any other habits that are bad for our hearts. God tells us to love because He knows that love is the best way. He knows that it will help us in the long run.

Love is a complex thing, but it’s an area that is worth examining in your life. Are there areas where you’ve let seeds of discontent, anger, envy and other things grow? If so, take the necessary steps to begin the habit of love in your life. Ask God’s help for where to begin and what to do. Begin today to develop the healthy habit of love and see what God can do through you!

7 Strategies to Help You Stay Sexually Pure

Strategies to Remain Sexually Pure for Teenagers

Sexual temptation is something we all face at some point in our lives. Winning the battle against sexual temptation isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard to stay strong in a world where sexual purity is laughed at. However, with some good strategies in place, you can win the fight against sexual temptation.

Strategy One – Watch What You Watch

One of the best strategies to stay sexually pure begins with being careful what you watch online and on TV. You can begin to feed sexual desires by spending too much time watching the wrong things online and on TV. Be mindful of what you’re watching and what you spend time thinking about.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Phil 4:8 (NLT)

The battle in the physical is often won first in your mind. Choose to think Godly thoughts and watch Godly things online and on TV. It will make your fight against sexual temptation much easier.

Strategy Two – Find a mentor

Find someone you respect who has already made the journey before you. Perhaps it’s a youth worker, older friend, or sibling. Find someone who has won the battle of sexual temptation and learn everything you can from them. See what strategies worked for them in their own battle against sexual temptation and see if you can apply any to your life.

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. – Proverbs 13:20

Strategy Three – Walk Away

If you’re dating someone, and things start getting heated, don’t be afraid to walk away. Stand up, walk to the other side of the room, leave the area, avoid dark places, cars or whatever seems to work for you.

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. – 2 Timothy 2:22

Don’t be afraid to put on the brakes and walk away. You’re in control of your body. If you want to stay sexually pure, you’ll have to make the decision to walk away from situations where you’ll be tempted.

Strategy Four – Stay Accountable

Having a good friend or two to stay accountable with is important. You need someone to help challenge you to stay strong when you’re feeling weak. Battles aren’t fought alone. You need to find someone to help hold you accountable.

Strategy Five – Date others committed to avoiding sexual temptation

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? – 2 Cor 6:14

You can’t expect to stay sexually pure and date someone who doesn’t have that same value. It doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to find someone who shares that same value and date them. It will make it so much easier in the long run. Date someone who is as committed to staying sexually pure as you are.

Strategy Six – Have a reminder

Before we were married, my husband and I had a funny phrase we would say to each other to challenge ourselves to stay sexually pure. We’d tell each other, ‘keep it clean until June 13.’ Our wedding date was June 13. It sounds a little funny, but it worked as a great reminder for us. Whenever we were feeling weak in that area, we would say this funny catch phrase and it help remind us of our commitment to remain sexually pure.

Do something fun to remind yourself of your commitment. Whether it’s a ring, a catch phrase or something else, have a reminder that you can use to remind yourself to stay pure.

Strategy Seven – Keep it casual

Don’t take your relationship too seriously. Don’t assume that it will end in marriage. Don’t act like you’re already married. You will most likely have several relationships before you get married. Don’t put too much pressure on your relationship. Don’t assume that you will marry this person. Most likely you won’t. Take the pressure off, keep it casual and simply enjoy life.

Get to know the person, but don’t jump straight to love and marriage. Keep yourself pure by putting on the brakes a bit and keeping your relationship casual.

Here are a few tips when it comes to guarding your heart in relationships.

What are some other strategies you’ve used to avoid sexual temptation? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you’re a youth leader and you enjoyed this devotion, we’ve made some discussion questions based on this lesson. Check them out below!

 

3 Practical Steps to Help You Accomplish Your Dreams

 

Youth and Teen Devotion - 3 Practical Steps to Reach Your Dreams

If you’re like most teenagers, you want to do something big with your life. You don’t want to be ordinary, but you do want to accomplish something meaningful. You desire to live your life to help others.

These desires are God breathed into your life. They’re exciting and fun and for some of you, they will be world changing. As fun as dreams are, success doesn’t happen automatically. To help your dreams become successful in the long term, we’ve come up with three practical steps to help you accomplish your dreams.

Step One – Prayer.

When you’re in the midst of doing something big for God prayer is vital. You’ve got to get God’s vision for your dream. God will show you how to do something when you don’t know how. He’ll show you the people you need to do the things that God is calling you to do, and He’ll give you the grace to do it. Be quick to go to God for His help.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

God sees the big picture. He has the benefit of knowing the future, so it’s important to get His input on your dreams and goals. Sometimes God will tell you to wait because the timing isn’t right to accomplish your dream. Other times, He might show you that you need some help or training to do what you feel in your heart to do. Be open to hearing from God about your dream. Follow His leading on the timing, and whether the dream is really what you’re to be doing right now.

Often God will put things in your heart, but they won’t come to pass all at once. Be patient and let God lead you in the development and discovery of your dream.

[Tweet “Be patient and let God lead you in discovering your dream – @studentdevos”]

Step Two – Discovery.

Discovery should always be a step in reaching your dreams. Discovery is simply getting to know yourself. During this phase, you’ll want to identify what types of things you excel at, and discover potential weaknesses. Its also helpful to get to know about jobs or careers that could potentially interest you. Learning about both of these areas is what dream discovery is all about.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

You have a God given gift that you can use to help others. Spend the time to find out what that is for you. Ask God to show you what things He’s put inside you and how you can begin to use them to make a difference.

Another part of discovery is to begin looking for others who have done something similar to what you want to do. Maybe you dream of a music career. Seek out others who have careers in music. Find out what education they needed for what they do. Find out what they do on a daily basis and see if it seems like this is something that would be a good fit for your strengths.

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. – Proverbs 28:26 (NLT)

It’s always worth it to invest the time to discover if your dream is a good fit for your gifts, personality and strengths.

Step Three – Reality Check.

After exploring the other two steps above, it’s good to do a little reality check. After you’ve spent some time discovering some of your gifts and talents, does your dream fit within your gifts? Do you believe that you could realistically accomplish your dream?

Also after praying and spending time with God, how do you feel about your dream? Is the timing right for you to pursue your dream? Do you feel like this dream is inspired by God? In answering these questions, choose to put God’s leading ahead of your own excitement if it’s needed. Be open to adjusting your goal or dream if God is pushing you that way. Choose to put God first in the pursuit of your dreams and goals.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

[Tweet “Choose to put God first in the pursuit of your dreams and goals – @studentdevos”]

God has given you a dream to do something exciting with your life. He’s gifted you in a unique way to accomplish the things that He has put on your heart. Don’t be afraid to dream big and get involved with your dreams. With God’s help you can accomplish big things!

If you’ve got a Bible study or a youth group and would like to use this devotion for discussion, we’ve got some easy to use discussion questions based on this devotion.